Battery Tender Plus Repair

Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet? 

Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you are like me, you’ve probably compiled quite a few chargers through the years.  So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, camera, or tablet that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?

Kinds of Chargers

In this guide, we’ll concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  While some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.

Laptop chargers are rather unique to the device they include.  However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between notebooks.  This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage to your device.

Micro USBs are designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in many smartphones, Android apparatus, and tablets.  Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw different amps.  I will explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (depending on its recorded amps and voltage).

For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.

In order for a charger for use on another device, it’s essential that the plug  of the charger (the”head”) fit snugly to the charging port of the unit.  Micro USBs are the same across the board as far as charging heads, whilst laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting securely is only one part of the equation.

How Voltage and Amperage Matter

Determined by the power brick of the charger you will get a label with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A).  For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually located at the bottom of the charger, in which it would meet up with the wall.  For the device you’re trying to charge, the voltage and amperage required will be found on the battery that came with the device or on the company’s website.

Voltage is how much power the charger will draw in the device, or just how much is being”pushed” into the device by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, though a laptop can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device.  This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and possibly even start a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.

Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” to the device, or how much power is used by the device.  The quantity of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the device pulls may change based on how hard the device is working.  The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device are the maximum amount of amps which can be pulled by the device.  If a device is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp requirement, it can burn out the power supply and kill the device.

So for those who have a modern USB device (smart phone, tabletcomputer, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy quicker charging (as long as the voltage is equivalent ).  *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB ports that use the newest Battery Charging Specification.

If The Micro USB  Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…

Some devices might have their voltage listed using a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%.  If this is true, you may use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that rating is telling you is that the device can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.  So this means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (as long as the amperage of the charger is equal to or greater than the device’s listed amperage).

An interesting point to note is chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries they charge.  That is pretty much how they work.  There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct direction to charge the battery.  When you look at your car, it’s a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.

The problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the apparatus, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow safely.  This can result in damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s better to stick with the charger made for the device you’re using.

Now You Know How To Safely & Effectively Swap Chargers

I hope this article was able to help you.  Now you know how to safely and efficiently use a charger that did not include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tablet, or other device.  Make sure to follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!